The men’s rugby football club has regained its season after being suspended last week. The deans’ office originally suspended men’s rugby as a measure of disciplinary action, limiting the number of practices and gatherings the team could hold. Since then, student leaders of men’s rugby have been meeting with the administration to work toward a solution that allows members to remain active while meeting the College’s demands that its members adhere to the College’s Code of Conduct.
The deans’ office did not offer information regarding the original suspension. “Normally around anything that has to do with disciplinary issues, we don’t really talk about that because there’s a privacy issue, especially when things are still being sorted through,” Dean Bolton said. “When I hear concerns from a variety of students, I respond to them. That’s pretty much all I can offer at the moment.”
In regard to the current situation, Dick Farley, director of club sports, said, “[The administration] is trying to resolve what issues there had been in the past and [make a] clearer delineation about what behavior should be and what the consequences will be.”
Most of the actions that caused men’s rugby’s suspension were the actions of individuals on the team as opposed to the team as a whole. “We believe that an incorrect image of rugby has overtaken the campus imagination which does not correspond with the reality of what the rugby team is,” Rene Rodriguez ’14, president of the rugby team, said. “In particular, the actions of a few individuals have been attributed to the rugby team because those individuals happen to play rugby. The truth of the matter is that the rugby team as an organization does not condone such actions.”
To move forward, the administration and student leaders have been working in tandem to address the actions of the individuals on the rugby team. “I’ve been a coach all my life,” Farley said. “So my background has been that if somebody makes the mistake, you should penalize the individual and not necessarily the team … What Dean [Dave] Johnson [’71] and myself are trying to propose is that the few people who are causing problems should be accountable to their peers. What we’re asking [the team] to do is kind of police their own,” Farley said.
Leaders of the rugby team reiterated this statement. “We regret the incidents of two weeks ago and the impact that they had on the community. We are working with the deans’ office and dealing internally with the individuals responsible,” said Rodriguez. “From now on, the club will have a zero tolerance policy for any similar behavior going forward and individuals will be held accountable by their teammates and leaders. Sanctions may be brought against individual team members or groups of team members for unacceptable and/or offensive behavior to the college community.”
Both parties are optimistic about the future of the team. “What we’re trying to do is move forward. I think things are relatively calm [now],” said Farley.
“We seek to strengthen our positive contributions [to the College] by encouraging all members of the team to get involved in other parts of campus,” Rodriguez said.